Banishing Blackheads

Anonymous wanted to know how to eliminate blackheads on her nose without resorting to harsh, drying products.

Unfortunately, blackheads are something that cannot be solved permanently without prescription medications (Epiduo, Duac, etc.).  Think of blackheads as whiteheads with no layer of skin over them.  They really are the exact same thing.  Both are a collection of sebum and dead skin cells within a a sebaceous gland’s duct.  Both are originally whitish in color.  Whiteheads stay white because they have a layer of skin over them (which is also why they swell while blackheads do not; this layer of skin allows the duct to act as a breeding ground for bacteria than can cause this accumulation to become infected).  Blackheads, open to the air, however, quickly oxidize (check my last post for some basic info on what oxidation is) and appear black.

So, if they bother you tremendously, head over to your dermatologist to get a prescription chemical exfoliator, which will help your skin cells shed faster and not accumulate in your pores, and some of which can reduce the production of sebum slightly, both of which will lead to a decrease in blackheads (mine have certainly started disappearing in the six months I’ve been on Epiduo and Soladyn).

Otherwise, the only thing you can do is keep them at bay.  Exfoliate a few times a week, make sure to use non-comedogenic products, and to not use a too-harsh face wash (some people think they can deep clean and get rid of oil this way, when in actuality, stripping your skin of oil actually causes it to produce more to compensate).

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